Friday, October 18, 2013

Question Everything: Journey to the Edge of the Universe

Question: In a previous article, you guys discussed whether the universe is finite or infinite in size. If the universe is finite, would a person theoretically be able to reach its edge, if so, what would be on the other side?

Asked by: Joshua Sheaffer

Answer: The short answer? A restaurant. (Just kidding)

Now, for the long answer (and believe me, this is a long [but interesting] read). First, before I delve into your question, let me highlight a few relevant portions of the article you mentioned;

"In the past, it was generally agreed upon that the Universe was either
infinite in size and age, or that it was of finite size – with the dimension
of time not coming about until the birth of the universe. If the latter is
actually the case, any event(s) occurring before this era could have no
appreciable affect on what is happening now.

In an infinite and static universe, the accelerating expansion of the cosmos,
which was triggered by dark energy, is nonsensical; it just doesn’t make
sense. You can’t have something that is static and unchanging .. but is
expanding somehow. For the time being, let’s take a moment to delve into
the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos. Because to understand
where we are going, we must understand where we have been."

Okay. Throughout the previous passages, we've established that the universe is not only very large, but it is also expanding exponentially in size. We didn't, however, establish how quickly this expansion is happening. To put it in the simplest possible terms, the universe is expanding FASTER than the speed of light.* At least, it is when you compare nearby galaxies to those that are much farther away. Relative to our neighboring galaxies, those hanging out on the edge of the observable universe are indeed traveling well over 186,282 miles per a second (299,792 kilometers), which is also known as the speed of light.

To read the full article, see:

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